Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Holiday Tale

Is it just me or has this holiday season been really quiet?  Dare I say subdued?

And yet, I had a really wonderful time this year.  Maybe the economy helped people remember what's really important.  Or maybe it's always like this, or I'm seeing things from a skewed perspective.  It's not like that would be a shocker ...

I do miss our little stray dog, who we named Chase.  Turned out her name is Decker, and she lives up the road.  We experienced the reverse of what we went through when Brian went missing.  After having Chase/Decker in our lives for a month, the owner found her.  After bonding with us, she seemed confused and wasn't really ready to go with her owner, but then he triggered her with a familiar phrase.  "Come on, let's go for a ride in the truck!"

And like that, she was gone.

I'm hugely comforted by the fact that she was part of a family with kids, and that those kids got a fantastic gift--a reunion after most of their hope had fled of ever seeing their dog again.  I remember how I cried sometimes weeks after Brian went missing, and how much I laughed, and cried again but this time with joy, when we got him back.  When I come home and Chase isn't there, I'm so grateful for my own dogs being home that I linger with them, letting them know how much I love them, and how awesome they are.  We have great dogs.  We really, really didn't need another one.

So, that's it, I guess.  A winter story with a magical ending and a little hint of sadness.  It's quiet here, and subdued, but good.  The days are finally getting longer, and before I'm ready for it, spring will be here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Food as Bonding

There's something awesome about making cookies with family.  It's a chemistry lesson, experimentation, an exercise in making-due, and playtime all wrapped together ... but there's so much more to it than even that.  It's as if we're participating in an old family tradition, even though we do it very, very seldom.  We're linked by sticky ingredients all over our hands and patches of flour on our noses where we've scratched.  

There's something deeply bonding about sharing food, and even more bonding by making food together.  For all I know it may be written into our DNA, helping us love to be together since alone most of us would die.  Many others have remarked on how families and friends become closer through cooking.  I'm just another voice among many saying oh heck yeah, it means so much more than working so that you can stuff your face.

I've been looking forward to making cookies for weeks, and it's everything I could have asked for and more.

Plus we get to eat our creations.  Yum.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stuff

 Just a quickie before work ...

We have snow again.  I'm not deterred from driving.  Work isn't that far away, and now it appears to be above freezing and raining.  It's very likely that about 200 yards down from our place there isn't any snow at all.

Sure was pretty to wake up to, though.

Made a little more progress on the porch yesterday.  Sunshine, freezing winds ... sure, why not?  The boy actually suggested it.  I didn't want to, but I recognized the wisdom in seizing the non-rainy day.  So we got about another 16 square feet or so done on that.  Not much, but the way we have to put it together--that's about 3 hours of work.  

I planted (just in time, it turns out) some daylillies donated by my mom for the great multi-acre garden cause.  As the average temperature continues to drop, the danger that the extremely hardy roots might succumb to freezing damage rose.  They're safe and snug in the earth now.  Also joining them: crocosmia and bluebells.  

I'm really looking forward to the show next year, assuming that I get all the blackberries beaten back in time.

And our stray foundling, Chase, is slowly learning the house rules.  No news yet as far as whether we're going to keep this beautiful, young female herding dog who weighs in at a mere 28 pounds.  We have a few days to decide what to do.

Three more days until Yule!  Weee!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Attack of the Poop

We have nicknames for almost all of our animals. Veronica also answers to 'Poop!' One of these days I'll have to have the boy video one of my exchanges with Veronica, which is probably only entertaining to me. It goes along the lines of:
"Poop!"
"Meow?"
"Poop!"
"Mrrow!"
"Poop!"
"Mmruw?"
"Poop!"
"Mow?"
On and on pretty endlessly. I only really want to document it in case anyone tries to attribute any sort of decorum or fussy propriety to me. I'm a kites-with-pictures-of-my-goats-with-wings-on-them, chocolate-cake-smeared-on-one-cheek kind of gal.
Just sayin'.
Not that it's ever likely to be an issue.
But I'll be watching, so you better not do anything too toward in my name out there.

Veronica originally got the nickname 'Poop' because I thought her coloration is reminiscent of bird poop. I'm also a fan of Winnie the Pooh, and therefore I'm perfectly happy with silly, somewhat inappropriate cutesy names for things. I know, I know, blame the innocent Pooh for my weirdness--how gauche. But there you have it.

Anyway, the Poop is spoiled rotten. She gets away with all kinds of stuff.

video
Brian is so sweet and patient.
Plus, he's a total attention hog, so as long as he's getting his pets, he doesn't care.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Yay Beach Trip

We went to the coast yesterday.  It's been a long time--too long.  I've missed the salt-damp air that soothed my skin (local desert winds have sucked the moisture out of everything.)  Seeing the gentle curvature of the earth from a high clifftop as I scan the blue horizon in a sweeping glance at an ocean view so broad you can't see from one edge to the other all at once.  Marveling at the power of a sea lion as he leapt from the water onto a rock six feet out of the water.  Creamy clam chowder with little puddles of butter swimming on top and home-baked bread.  The thrill of not-quite-surprise as a wave surges into a narrow channel and then drills water up through a spout hole where it shatters into a glassy rainbow.  Dancing on ice cold sand and barnacle rocks in tender feet while the waves tickle up the shoreline pushing foam over my toes.

My DH and I fantasized about making a life at the coast.  Spending the day there made me feel young again as I relived a thousand memories, and at the same time I saw so many things through new eyes as our guest saw the ocean up close for the first time in his life--recanting old rules and warning about the dangers of our wild coast reminded me that I've learned a thing or two over the years about the melding place of land and sea.

I miss sailing too.  

Spending a day at the coast is always wonderful.  Spending it with family and friends--yeah.  It was a really good day.

Yay Beach Trip

We went to the coast yesterday.  It's been a long time--too long.  I've missed the salt-damp air that soothed my skin (local desert winds have sucked the moisture out of everything.)  Seeing the gentle curvature of the earth from a high clifftop as I scan the blue horizon in a sweeping glance at an ocean view so broad you can't see from one edge to the other all at once.  Marveling at the power of a sea lion as he leapt from the water onto a rock six feet out of the water.  Creamy clam chowder with little puddles of butter swimming on top and home-baked bread.  The thrill of not-quite-surprise as a wave surges into a narrow channel and then drills water up through a spout hole where it shatters into a glassy rainbow.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Muddle in the Middle

I didn't make either of my Nano goals this year, but I had a great time, and I've reached the muddle in the middle of a new novel with all new characters.  It's a lot of fun.

The muddle in the middle reminds me a lot of the middle game in chess.  Surviving the middle game is a huge hurdle when you're learning to play chess.  Thriving in the middle game separates the accidental winners and losers from chess masters, who exploit the chaos as much as possible.

I think writing through the muddle in the middle is really similar.  At some point surviving it (rather than taking weird plot turns or losing characterization/plot in a weak and complicated mangle of words) becomes thriving becomes mastering that muddle and turning it to your advantage.  I don't feel like I'm really thriving there yet, but this time around I feel like I can see more clearly than I ever have before.  It still feels complicated, but my characters and the plot haven't gotten lost.

Nothing to do but plunge onward and see what happens next!